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Academic News - February 2019

CyberWolves National Cyber Security Rankings

CSU-Pueblo CyberWolvesFor the third straight season, nationally ranked CSU-Pueblo CyberWolves continued their “howling success” in the Fall National Cyber League (NCL) cybersecurity games by once again placing among the top 10 cyber security teams in the nation. The CyberWolves competed on two major NCL challenges: The NCL Regular (Individual) games and the NCL Post-Season (Team) game with great success. 

In the NCL Team Games, CSU-Pueblo entered three cyber security teams. Out of the three-team’s entered, the “Red Team” finished No. 4 in the nation and No. 3 in the Gold Bracket. “Every member of the CyberWolves performed outstandingly with some of the best NCL teams in the nation. It was a fight to the finish with three other national cyber security teams!” added Mejias. The CSU-Pueblo CyberWolves were only 10 points away (out of 3,000 pts.) from the No. 1 rank in the nation.

For the Individual games, the CSU-Pueblo CyberWolves placed five players among the top

175 positions out of 3,320 NCL players from 373 different University teams. Mark Detrick was ranked No. 34 in the nation followed by No. 57 Alex Marck. Ryan Garbars, Joseph VonFeldt, and Josh Greer also placing among the top 175 national NCL Players. 

The CSU-Pueblo “Red Team” finished with a three-way tie with two other University NCL teams for second place in the nation but came in fourth place as the CyberWolves were only

 1.22 percent lower in the “Accuracy” Index (87.59 percent) than the other two schools with 88.81 percent and 88.19 percent.

According to the National Cyber League, which was founded in 2011, its mission is ‘to provide an ongoing virtual training ground for participants to develop, practice, and validate their cybersecurity knowledge and skills using next-generation high-fidelity simulation environments.’

Categories for the Fall 2018 NCL competition included open source intelligence, cryptography, password cracking, log analysis, network traffic analysis, wireless access exploitation, scanning, web application exploitation and enumeration and exploitation.

The CyberWolves team members included (1st row: David Salay, Brandon Carlsen, Sophia Montoya, Rochelle Henry, Gabrila Garcia-Greer, Dr. Mejias, (2nd row: Jared Streed, Eric Tifanny, Joseph VonFeldt, Ryan Garbars, Max Diaz-Soto, (3rd Row: Mark Hedrick, Raul Reyes, Alex Marck, Hunter Stevens). Not pictured, are Josh Greer and Steve Ullman (now at the University of Arizona's nationally ranked graduate program in Cyber Security).

“We could not be prouder of our CSU-Pueblo CyberWolves,” said CSU-Pueblo Associate Professor of Computer Information Systems and Director of the Center for Cyber Security Education and Research (CCSER) Dr. Roberto Mejias.


National 2018 Virtual Code-A-thon

Colorado Springs Business Journal

Four CSU-Pueblo Computer Information Systems students placed second in October’s national 2018 Virtual Code-A-thon, hosted by the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City (KCFED). The event included 17 teams from six states.

The CSU-Pueblo ThunderWolves team was selected as one of three finalists based on an application they submitted called “Sentiment.” The application collects data from social media such as Instagram, Twitter, and Tumblr to measure people’s sentiment on a particular product or service provided by a business.

The ThunderWolves team, which included Alex Marck, Joseph VonFeldt, Michael Zamora, and Robin Rice, along with Dr. Juyun (Joey) Cho, associate professor of Computer Information Systems at Hasan School of Business, CSU-Pueblo, who had worked as a faculty liaison for the competition, was invited to present at the KCFED building on November 1st. After a presentation in front of about 100 KCFED employees, CSU-Pueblo was awarded 2nd place.

“I am extremely proud of our talented and innovative students,” Cho said. “Their hard work and ability to identify and find solutions to real-life problems says a great deal about their commitment and talent.” 

“The KC Fed code-a-thon was a lot of fun, and it was a great experience to collaborate with my teammates and create something with my team in only one weekend,” said senior Computer Information Systems student (CIS), Alex Marck. “The code-a-thon was just one of the many ways that CIS students at CSU-Pueblo continually put their abilities to work.”

“Participating in the KC Federal Reserve coding competition was a great experience,” said junior CIS student, Joseph VonFeldt. “It was unlike what one would get in a classroom and gave us a chance to learn new things and apply our skills in ways we have not in the past.

The KCFED Code-a-thon is one of many great extra-curricular activities available for CIS majors at CSU-Pueblo,” said VonFeldt.

“The event was filled with very knowledgeable people who we were able to converse with,” said junior CIS student, Michael Zamora.  “They gave us great advice and constructive criticism that will help our team next year.”

The Kansas City Fed Code-A-Thon is an annual virtual event to encourage and inspire computer science and engineering students. The Code-A-Thon offers an opportunity to partner with universities in providing a medium where students can co-create in developing innovative solutions that solve real-life problems. Equally, the Code-A-Thon provides students an opportunity to gain real world skills and experiences needed to transition into the workforce.

A video of their presentation can be seen on YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DO1knW9c-HU .


CSU-Pueblo Welcomes Partners of the Americas Students and Faculty

Partners of AmericaAs part of a Partners of the Americas Foundation grant under the 100,000 Strong in the Americas initiative, CSU-Pueblo welcomed a group of seven Mexican college students and one faculty member to Colorado last October.  The purpose of the trip was to study Colorado tourism and encourage cultural exchange between Colorado State University students and students from the Autonomous University of Baja California Sur in La Pax, Mexico.

The trip built upon earlier cultural exchange opportunities in Mexico wherein CSU-Pueblo and CSU-Fort Collins students studied Ecotourism and Sustainable Travel at the CSU Todos Santos Center alongside Mexican tourism students.  This “fair-trade” learning experience between CSU-Pueblo and Mexico honors CSU-Pueblo’s Hispanic Serving Institution status while promoting diversity and developing global citizens. 

Highlights of the trip included: dinner with the CSU-Pueblo President on the Pueblo Riverwalk, cultural exchange with CSU-Pueblo students studying Spanish, a visit to the El Pueblo History Museum, a tour of the Royal Gorge Bridge and meeting with senior park management, an excursion to Red Rocks Amphitheatre, cultural exchange with CSU- Fort Collins students enrolled in the Presidents Leadership Program, an excursion to Rocky Mountain National Park, a meeting with the Colorado Tourism Office, and finally a campus tour and lunch with the CSU-Fort Collins International Program office.

The visit was organized by CSU-Pueblo Assistant Professor of Recreation & Outdoor Leadership, Daniel Bowan.

Click here to view photos of their experience visit.


Future Nurses Honored at CSU-Pueblo

by Zach Hillstrom
Pueblo Chieftain

Nurses HonoredA large group of current and future nursing professionals gathered in the Occhiato Center Ballroom at Colorado State University-Pueblo Thursday, afternoon, January 17, to honor the school’s nursing students during the university’s annual Nursing Convocation.

Approximately 400 students, faculty and community members filled the newly renovated ballroom to socialize and snack on cake and refreshments before hearing from professionals within the CSU-Pueblo School of Nursing about the state of the program.

After a brief welcoming address by CSU-Pueblo President Timothy Mottet, university Provost and Executive Vice President of Academic Affairs Mohamed Abdelrahman spoke of the ongoing developments in the nursing school, including a new program that will allow students to continue their education after receiving their registered nursing degrees.

The program will begin in the fall 2019.

Abdelrahman also relayed to the crowd that the current semester at CSU-Pueblo is the first in which the university is offering a doctor of nursing practice degree— the first doctoral program at the university.

The crowd also heard from guest speaker Deb Center, who spoke to the students about the importance of civility between colleagues in the health care industry.

Center spoke about the prevalence of mistakes in the medical industry and mentioned a 2017 study which found that medical errors were the third leading cause of death in the United States.

Center also addressed how incivility decreases productivity in the workplace throughout the health care industry and contributes to many nurses feeling “burned out”, which can often lead to their departure from the industry.

“So our breakdowns in communication, our incivility, really do have an impact,” she said.

One of the many nursing students who attended the convocation was Ronda Orndoff, who has already obtained her master’s degree in the program and is currently working toward her Doctor of Nursing Practice degree.

Orndoff spoke to the efficacy of the CSU-Pueblo nursing program, which is renowned across the state for producing highly qualified graduates.

“I think with working full time and coming in and working in school full time, that’s really prepared me to juggle a lot of things,” Orndoff said.

“And that’s what you actually do as nurse practitioner: Out in the field, you’re constantly juggling patients, questions, procedures, things like that.

“So I think the workload here and the curriculum, it establishes a really great core for us to go out into the workforce and become great providers for the community.”


Partnership to offer Spanish Class for Food Inspectors

The Pueblo Department of Public Health and Environment (PDPHE) sought to bridge a gap in their expertise to better serve the Pueblo Community by breaking down language barriers. For the last two years, The Pueblo Department of Public Health and Environment have applied for and received a grant through the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA), aimed at language barriers so inspectors can better perform their job in the community.

Last year when the department received their second grant, Vick Carlton, food program manager and Josh Gallegos, Environmental Health Specialist at The Pueblo Department of Public Health and Environment, envisioned developing a program that not only translated documents, as they did with their previous grant, but also to provide their department a Spanish class to help their inspectors provide better services to the community. Gallegos reached out to Kathryn Starkey, Outreach Specialist in the Extended Studies Department at CSU-Pueblo, and a new partnership was formed.

“It all started when Josh contacted Alegria Ribadeneira, one of our Spanish professors, to see what we could do to help them with their language barriers,” said Starkey. “From a conference call the three of  us took part in, we decided that one of the best things we could do is offer a Spanish class for non-credit for their inspectors,” Starkey added.

Together, the two departments drafted plans to offer a Spanish class to the inspectors to help them with their goal of bridging the language barrier they encounter in Spanish speaking facilities.

Throughout the class, the inspectors were gaining a progression of understanding, learning enough to be able to start a conversation. CSU-Pueblo Spanish professor, Jorge Arroyo, taught both in the classroom at PDPHE as well as out in the community. He went on inspections to mobile food locations throughout town, witnessing the inspectors’ Spanish skills in action. “Being able to use tools to communicate with food operators in a new way has helped us build stronger relationship with the operators, with the focus on food safety” said Gallegos.

Ultimately, Carlton noted, “the class exceeded our expectations.” Arroyo went above and beyond to provide a course that was specialized to the department’s needs. The content was specific to the needs of their every day job, having done copious amounts of research to truly understand the essential vocabulary and conversations the employees would need to conduct food inspections. Arroyo went on to say “This was an excellent l experience for me. The students were aware of their language development needs and were quick to implement class lessons into their interactions with the population they serve as inspectors. As language instructors we don’t always get to see students engage in real life situations using the target language, and seeing them engage gave me invaluable insight for future lessons. I was very impressed with the development of the class and students' individual improvement, to say the least.” 

 Jody Carrillo, the Environmental Health and Emergency Preparedness Director, added that “The course truly became a tool for the inspectors to be able to better serve the community. All of the inspectors have found more confidence, as they feel better about communicating with the businesses they visit, helping businesses stay in compliance with State and Federal laws.”

“As part of CSU-Pueblo’s new Vision 2028, we are recommitted to people and community, which reflects our DNA and provides us with an opportunity to reimagine what a university and community can accomplish together. This is a perfect example of what that partnership can be,” said Starkey.

The department has applied for further grant funding to hopefully offer more intermediate Spanish classes in the future. The community has a need to bridge barriers like this, and the partnership with Pueblo Department of Public Health and Environment and CSU-Pueblo helped to make this a reality.


Students Help Launch the Future Villa Bella D70 Charter School

By Anthony A. Mestas,
The Pueblo Chieftain

Villa Bella SchoolAfter months of preparation, Pueblo’s Villa Bella Expeditionary elementary school officially broke ground January 21.  The groundbreaking ceremony was held at 10:30 a.m., next to the CSU-Pueblo campus.

The ceremony included brief statements by Scott Robertshaw, VBE Board President; Logan Gogarty, Founder and Director; Ed Smith, Superintendent for Pueblo School District 70; and Mohamed Abdelrahman, Provost and Executive Vice President of Academic Affairs for Colorado State University – Pueblo. They will be followed by a ceremonial groundbreaking.

Being the first Expeditionary K-5 charter school in Pueblo, CO, Villa Bella will introduce a teaching model emphasizing hands-on experiences for children allowing them to integrate multiple traditional subjects simultaneously. The student’s curiosity is used to motivate and guide them as they explore challenging questions through personal research and exploration.

Villa Bella will be located next to CSU-Pueblo and will cultivate a strong relationship with the university that is mutually beneficial. Villa Bella students will have the opportunity to use CSU-Pueblo resources while CSU-Pueblo students will receive professional development and experience through internships and field experience with Villa Bella. This synergistic relationship will help install a college-centric culture into the minds of every Villa Bella student.

“We are proud to be part of this partnership that provides families with additional educational opportunities for their children and our teacher education students with the opportunity to learn by observing and assisting experienced professionals in an embedded learning environment. With our new vision and mission, we are working to ensure that all of our students have a professional work experience before they graduate to help them make the transition into their professional career,” said Mottet.

The community is encouraged to attend. After the reception, there will be a fundraiser for Villa Bella at ThunderZone Taphouse & Pizza along with Lobos Tacos between 11 a.m. to 12 p.m. 10% of all purchases from these locations during that time will be donated to Villa Bella Expeditionary.

Villa Bella would like to thank the founding families, Pueblo School District 70, and CSU-Pueblo for all of the encouragement and support in making the school a reality.


 

Colorado for Science Olympiad

On March 2, Colorado State University-Pueblo will host more than 800 students from across Colorado, and approximately 200 students, faculty, staff, and community professionals for the Colorado Southern Regional Science Olympiad Tournament. Science Olympiad is the nation’s largest middle and high school science competition with 8,000 teams in all 50 states. The March 2 event at CSU-Pueblo event will feature 35 separate competitions ranging from Protein Modeling to Forensics and Mousetrap Vehicles.

According to contest organizer Abby Davidson, director of the Colorado Southern Regional Science Olympiad, 62 teams of up to 15 student competitors from 20 middle schools and 18 high schools throughout Colorado will take part in the Southern Regional Science Olympiad from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, March 2, with winners advancing to the state competition in Denver on April 27. An awards ceremony will follow the competition (4-5:30 p.m.) in CSU-Pueblo’s Massari Arena. Winners of the state competition will move on to the national competition at Cornell University in New York May 31-June 1.

While the majority of teams competing will be from out of town, Pueblo County will be represented by teams from Centennial High School, Corwin International Magnet School, and Beulah School of Natural Sciences. To encourage stronger Pueblo representation in future years, Davidson invites area teachers and administrators to attend Science Olympiad to learn more about the tournament and how to form new teams. Competitions include everything from lab-based biology events and robot testing to flight testing events like air gliders and elastic-launched gliders. For example, the Mission Possible event involves building and testing a Rube Goldberg machine capable of performing specific tests (such as playing a recording that says ‘the end’ when the machine has completed all tasks).

Davidson has been working to gather approximately 50 STEM professionals to facilitate the 35 different competitions and recruit more than 100 student volunteers to assist with the event competitions. In addition to heavy representation of STEM faculty from CSU-Pueblo and the U.S. Air Force Academy, many community and state governmental agencies will have their STEM professionals represented, including the Pueblo City County Health Department, the National Weather Service, Transportation Technology Center, Inc. (TTCI), UTC Aerospace, and the United States Geological Survey.

All of the events focus on STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) content-based competitions, which is how Davidson came to lead the effort. She also serves as the Science Learning Center Director for the Communities to Build Active STEM Engagement (CBASE) grant, which aims to increase the number of Hispanic and other low-income students earning degrees in STEM fields through development of new curriculum, centers for learning and engagement, and a model transfer and articulation agreement.

 

For more CSU-Pueblo news, click here.
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Aerial shot of campus fountain

Campus Safety: Coronavirus (COVID-19)

We have a number of individuals working on a plan to ensure that we are prepared to take care of our students and employees in the event our campus is directly impacted by the coronavirus.

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